Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Messer Introduces Bill To Exempt Schools From Employer Mandate

    Rep. Messer visits a class at North Decatur Elementary.

    Rep. Messer visits a class at North Decatur Elementary.

    Rep. Luke Messer, R-Indiana, is introducing a bill that would exempt schools from complying with the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

    The bill, called the Safeguarding Classrooms Hurt by ObamaCare’s Obligatory Levies (SCHOOL), was presented to the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Friday after the committee heard testimony from K-12 and university leaders about the cost school districts and universities are incurring because of the mandate. 

    “The crux of the problem is the requirement that healthcare be provided for any employee that works over 30 hours a week,” Messer said. “That’s a particular problem for schools when it comes to bus drivers, substitute teachers, teacher’s aides, cafeteria workers, librarians and the like.”

    Messer also said as many school districts experience budget issues this would help alleviate some of that burden.

    Mike Wilcox, Superintendent of Schools at Richland Bean Blossom Community School Corporation, is supportive of this legislation.

    “Simply it is in the best interest of kids,” Wilcox said. “We’ll be able to restore the hours back to where they originally were for those positions that are so important to all of our kids.”

    Wilcox says the district was able to protect 12 non-certified staff positions this year. The remainder of those, particularly instructional assistants, substitute teachers and lay coaches, had their hours cut to avoid exceeding 29 hours.

    “Your support people you depend on so much for educational and support staff type of services that they make the world go round so to speak in your school corporation,” Wilcox said.

    Last year, Attorney General Greg Zoeller and 15 school districts statewide filed a lawsuit in federal court fighting the employer mandate for schools.


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